Gerry B's Book Reviews

The Peripheral Son: A Dick Hardesty Mystery, by Dorien Grey

A thinking-mystery that reads like a fine cognac


Story blurb: Freelance investigative reporter Victor Koseva has disappeared. A loner, Koseva has few friends, no co-workers, a dysfunctional family background, and some quirky proclivities that could easily have gotten him in trouble.

But when his concerned sister-in-law hires Dick Hardesty, he discovers Koseva was looking into two very dangerous subjects: corruption in a powerful local labor union and drug use at a local boxing arena—an arena owned by his estranged father and brother. Add a handsome gay middleweight with eyes on the championship and a peculiar kleptomaniacal accountant and a total lack of clues or sources for same, and you have the making of a puzzle that threatens to stump even Dick Hardesty.

About the author: With the release of Caesar’s Fall, book #3 of the Elliott Smith paranormal mysteries, Dorien Grey places a 17th book on his shelf of published work, joining the 13-title Dick Hardesty mystery series and the stand-alone Western/adventure/romance novel Calico. The release of a new edition of The Bar Watcher is the first of what will be redesigned editions of the entire Dick Hardesty series previously published by GLB Publishing. Dorien is also hard at work on an all-new Elliott Smith and John novel.

Available in paperback and e-book formats.


Review by Gerry Burnie

Unfortunately this is the first Dorien Grey novel I have read. I say “unfortunately” because reading The Peripheral Son [Zumaya Boundless, 2011] has made it clear just what pleasure I have missed.

It is in fact the fourteenth in the Dick Hardesty Series that Dorien Grey has developed, but I didn’t find this an impediment to enjoying the story—other than wanting to go back to see how the characters developed along the way.

The story blurb provides an outline of the plot, as have other reviewers, and so I will concentrate on what I found the be particularly enjoyable about Dorien Grey’s work.

Character development

Right from the start the author’s skill in bringing the characters to life is apparent. Almost text book examples, in fact. Victor Koseva’s peculiarities as a fastidious, gay, hardnosed investigative reporter, sets the stage and even the rationale for his murder. Moreover, his status as the ‘peripheral son’ is a stark contrast to quiet domesticity of Dick Hardesty, his lover Jonathon, and adopted son Joshua.

Likewise, the supporting cast—both good guys and bad—are all interesting while contributing to and enlivening the plot.

[I will also include in this category an editorial note: I am so pleased that the author chose to emphasize the ‘happy’ side of gay life; as apposed to what I have come to term “the persecution complex.” Yes, persecution has been, and still is, a very real part of the gay experience, but it doesn’t rank the predominance that some writers give it.]

Plot development

The plot, particularly the mystery elements, demonstrates the same understanding of progressive form that guides—not drives—the story from beginning to end. Indeed, it is the subtle laying out of clues (and possibilities) that tempts the reader onward—as every good mystery should do.

The story also moves along at a nice pace—necessary, I think, for a thinking-mystery—and the narrative is sophisticated and stumble-free; almost a given for writing of this calibre.

I also like the nostalgic bits sprinkled like bonbons throughout the plot, i.e. Sony-Walkmans, etc.


Altogether it was a very satisfying read, but may I suggest a nice cognac and a rendition Jean-Joseph Mouret ‘s “First Suite in D” (the theme tune of Masterpiece Theatre) to go with it. Five bees.


Visitor’s count to Gerry B’s Book Reviews – 19,915.  I predicted we would reach 20,000 by the end of January 2012, and it looks like we are going to make it! So a thank you in advance for participation, and do keep coming back.


Poetry fans:  I’d like to introduce Kerry Edward Sullivan, poet and short story writer. Kerry has published several of his poems and is currently working a journal-type short story aimed at young adults and older. To receive some of his poems, email him at:


Shawnda’s blog: Hey, there’s a new blog online, and you’re invited to drop by. To visit Shawnda’s blog, click here.


If you would like to learn more about any of my books, or to order copies, click on the specific cover below. Two Irish Lads and Nor All Thy Tears are available in both Kindle and Nook formats. Publisher’s price, $4.95.


Thanks for dropping by!

January 29, 2012 - Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Historical period

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